CAMDEN, S.C. (WCSC/WIS) - According to historians, more than 200 battles took place in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.
“This state has more battles and engagements than any other state in the Union,” Rick Wise with Historic Camden said
Wise knows just about everything you need to know when it comes to the American Revolution in South Carolina. He is the Education and Volunteer Coordinator with Historic Camden.
The private, nonprofit works to protect and preserve Camden’s Colonial and Revolutionary War history.
“We think there is a mass grave with over 400 folks buried there from the Battle of Camden,” Wise said.
In the later half of the war, the British focused their efforts on Georgia and the Carolinas and planned on making their way up to Virginia.
In August 1780, British and American troops met a few miles outside of Camden. The American side suffered what is considered one of the worst tactical defeats in the war at the Battle of Camden.
Despite the defeat it was considered a turning point for the Americans. Following the Battle of Camden, Major General Nathanael Greene was appointed Commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army by George Washington. Under his leadership, the Americans were able to stop the British from advancing through the South.
“When you think about that -- it really puts it into perspective for how important this was to our independence,” Wise said.
American forces lead by Greene, Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion helped wear down the British. According to the American Battlefield Trust, some historians consider the Revolutionary War to have been decided in the swamps, fields, woods and mountains of the South, won by the resilience and determination of Continental soldiers and Patriot militia.
The American Battlefield Trust and the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust are working on a special project called the Liberty Trail. They hope to preserve and connect 69 battle sites from the American Revolution in the State.
Wise said the late 1700s might seem like a long time ago but that history is much closer than you think.
“For folks who are looking for Revolutionary War history it’s right here in your backyard,” Wise said.